PNM, New Mexico’s largest electric utility, has signed a deal with First Solar to build 22MW (AC) of utility-scale photovoltaic solar power plants in the state.
The solar company will construct the facilities using its cadmium-telluride thin-film PV panels at five separate sites within PNM’s service territory. The sites will be chosen based on cost, availability, and suitability of land; the quality of a site’s solar potential; environmental and permitting considerations; and level of local support, according to the companies.
If approved by state regulators, the 22MW of new solar capacity would be the first contracted under the terms of an agreement that the utility reached with state environmental, renewable energy, and governmental organizations two weeks ago.
The specifics of that plan, to be filed with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission on Jan. 25, call for a total of 45MW of utility-scale solar PV to be added to PNM’s system in the 2010-2011 timeframe.
The sites chosen to host the solar PV facilities will be announced as they are determined, according to PNM. Construction on the first site is expected to begin by 2011, or as soon as the PRC approves the utility’s renewable plan.
First Solar said it expects construction at all five sites to be completed by late 2011. The build-outs will create approximately 100 construction jobs. Once completed, PNM will own the sites as part of its generation portfolio.